Deacon Gutierrez and Deacon Zapata during Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.

Diaconate Formation Program

Do you feel called to the permanent diaconate?

After the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI formally implemented the renewal of the permanent diaconate, which is an ordained ministry for men (married or single). Permanent deacons are called to serve the Church in rich and varied ways through ministry of word, sacrament, and charity and justice.

The process of forming the next cohort of permanent deacons is underway. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to contact the Diaconate Formation Office at this time. Classes begin in the fall of 2019.
To be considered, an applicant must be:
A Roman Catholic man, at least 35 years of age (and no older than his early sixties).
An active member of his parish, living within the diocese.
In good health, of sound moral character and mature faith, and a regular participant in the sacramental life of the Church. 
If married, he must be in a strong, valid, Catholic marriage for a minimum of five years and have the support of his wife and family.
If unmarried, he must be willing and able to commit to celibacy. 
We are seeking men who already have the heart of a deacon including a demonstrated devotion to service, peace and justice. Those admitted to the program should be prepared to commit to the four-year formation process. Applicants will need the written approval of both their pastor and their wife (if married), and must meet various admission requirements, including thorough background checks. There are no special requirements in terms of education.
While the ministry of the permanent deacon is rich and rewarding, it is not suitable for everyone. Throughout the formation process, both the applicant and the Church will discern the individual’s calling to determine if a match exists between his gifts and the Church’s needs.
Interested applicants are asked to speak about their calling with their pastors first. The next step is to schedule an initial interview with Deacon Jim Hessler, director of diaconate formation. To schedule an appointment, contact Kim, Vocations Office assistant, at 616-288-0910 or
The application process for the 2019 deacon formation class will close in March of 2019. 
Learn more about diaconate ministry on the USCCB website.

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